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AsReader - New Handheld RFID Reader Locates Tags Within Centimeters

AsReader's ASR-R250G reader, paired with a smartphone, employs software from RFLocus and can display the locations of tagged items in 3D from a range of about 10 meters.

This month, RFID reader technology company AsReader, Inc. released a new handheld reader with a 10-meter (33-foot) read range. Using software from RFLocus enables the new reader's users to not only interrogate an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag, but identify in 3D where that tag is located in relation to the reader, within a matter of centimeters.

The ASR-R250G is designed to be small and low in cost, the company reports. The handheld employs Apple iPhone- or Android-based devices, connected to the reader, to enable operation with an app. The new product also comes with built-in AsTagFinder software co-developed by RFLocus and AsReader. The AsReader open-source and royalty-free software-development kit (SDK) enables users to build an app to operate on the reader's mobile device. Users can transmit data back to a server via the mobile device's Wi-Fi connectivity, or via a cellular connection, or collect the data locally, off the network, and synch upon rejoining the network.


The ASR-R250G reader

RFLocus and AsReader collaborated on the "locating" software for use in the ASR-R250G model. The technology enables users to identify, in 3D, where tags are located in relation to the reader, accurate up to within centimeters. AsReader, Inc. is based in Tustin, Calif., and is a subsidiary of parent company Asterisk, Inc., headquartered in Osaka, Japan. The ASR-R250G-23 reader operates in the United States bandwidths, while its European counterpart is the ASR-R250G-22 model. In the U.S. and European models, the 1-watt (30-dBm) power setting can also be lowered manually, or with automated logic to as low as 3-mW (5-dBm) when shorter read ranges are desired.

The company also offers UHF-, HF- and bar-code-based sled pocket devices linked to smartphones for short reads—about 1 to 2 meters (3.3 to 6.6 feet). The ASR-R250G reader is designed to be very compact, AsReader reports, and is aimed at providing a longer read range. "This is our first public foray into long-range RFID reading," says Paul Archuleta Whitney, AsReader's VP. By employing the software developed with RFLocus, he explains, AsReader can retain the small form factor and smartphone device compatibility of its other products, while providing the kind of long-range UHF reads typically offered by bulkier handheld readers.

"AsReader has released a device that is nothing like conventional readers," says Gary Chen, RFLocus's co-founder and managing VP. Because it accommodates a smartphone, he explains, the new reader is designed to enable use with an app, making it less expensive and smaller than most traditional PDA readers, with greater functionality. Additionally, the devices are built to provide both bar-code and RFID reading capabilities.

Most standard handhelds use received signal strength indicator (RSSI) technology to identify where a tag may be located, Chen explains. RFLocus software, in concert with AsReader hardware, also utilizes this measurement, as well as time domain phase difference of arrival (TD-PDOA), which consists of collecting and analyzing the sequence of data points in successive order as a reader is moving, according to Hajime Kamiya, RFLocus's co-founder and CEO. This enables the reader to interrogate each tag nearly 1,000 times per second.

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